Accelerating business innovation through 5G Standalone

The launch of 5G Standalone by Three Ireland will usher in a new wave of innovation and creativity thanks to the advanced capabilities it brings

5G Standalone was tested using the Samsung flagship device – the Galaxy S23 Ultra

As the largest mobile network in the country, Three Ireland has added another string to its bow by becoming the first Irish operator to launch 5G Standalone on its public network.

The move from the telecoms company, which has over 4.3 million customers and has invested over €2 billion in Ireland to date, will accelerate innovation across industries and create significant opportunities for businesses and customers.

What 5G Standalone provides is a new dedicated core network, supporting enhanced speeds, providing consistent low latency, speedy data transmission, and enabling higher device density and capacity.

In Ireland, up until now all current public 5G networks are non-standalone, meaning that while they offer faster speeds and improved latency, they rely on 4G infrastructure like radio coverage footprint and core network.

“This is a significant change and has the potential to revolutionise apps and services provided”, said Eoin Keane, director of networks at Three Ireland.

“The new 5G Standalone core network allows you to have the other components 5G was built for, like ultra-reliable low latency and guaranteed quality of service,” he said. “Also, it enables higher volumes of device connections through efficient spectrum use.”

5G Standalone also offers network slicing, which will enable Three to build virtual end-to-end networks tailored to specific business requirements.

“There’s a lot of new potential with 5G Standalone that’s not there in 5G non-standalone or 4G technology. This new potential, coupled with network slicing, allows Three Ireland to divide its infrastructure into multiple networks, supporting greater efficiencies for businesses and driving innovation.

“With lower latency and high-volume device connections, coupled with the network slicing, you can offer unique services to customers,” said Keane. “You can dedicate and guarantee the experience of low latency and higher speeds, depending on what applications you’re using.”

Where 5G Standalone can excel is bringing high-speed internet and low latency to areas that can’t traditionally be served by fibre broadband due to geography.

As 5G Standalone requires less infrastructure setup - its base stations can provide a greater coverage area than WiFi access points, meaning fewer base stations are needed to cover a given area - it can be very useful in settings like docklands or heritage areas.

“If you take, for example, a port, a port is spread over hundreds of acres, and to deploy the fibre infrastructure would be costly,” explained Keane. “But with 5G Standalone, it allows you to deliver that low latency response without investing in fibre infrastructure.”

“We see this as a very cost-effective way of delivering high speed connectivity and very low latency, response times to high volumes of connected devices.

This is a significant change and has the potential to revolutionise apps and services provided

That fast response time, can also excel in areas like public health. Mission critical roles and applications like paramedics, fire brigade, garda, and disaster recovery teams can benefit from the low latency and high performance that 5G Standalone offers.

“We’re seeing potential use cases where you can dedicate a slice of the network to applications like an ambulance network,” said Keane. “Where you’re guaranteed a speedy response time, dedicated bandwidth to an ambulance network that would allow the central team to talk to remote ambulances and give guidance and advice in real-time.”

“That’s where we see some applications in the public health space, but there are many other applications in industrial and consumer markets.” Its applications are vast and can change how many services currently operate.

Powered by Ericsson and tested using the Samsung flagship device, the S23 Ultra, Three Ireland’s 5G Standalone network is currently operating on a trial basis, starting with one year but offering the ability to extend that period.

Through partnerships with its corporate customers and vendors, Keane describes it as a game changer in the type of services that can be delivered and is excited about its use cases.

“We’re going to use the trial period to work with our corporate customers,” he said. “We’ve just signed an agreement with the Technological University Shannon to allow us to bring these use cases to life, demonstrate them, and see how we can bring benefit all across multiple environments such as industrial, sports, and consumer.”

Tying into that is network exposure, which is a new feature of 5G Standalone, which will allow Three Ireland to develop its partnership model further. By giving partners more secure access to network functionality, they can create applications and services they need which are possible through 5G Standalone.

“It’s about more interaction with developers and third parties to create the applications that will ultimately benefit consumers and businesses,” he concluded.

Three Ireland has 45.5 per cent of market share in Ireland and operates 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G networks. Three Ireland now has over 90 per cent 5G population coverage and is proud to launch 5G Standalone as its next innovation in the 5G space.

For more information, visit three.ie/business